Pametni deska Pavlu Svobodovi

Vážení návštěvníci této stránky, chtěli bychom Vás tu průběžně informovat o stavu příprav instalace pamětní desky.

Ve spolupráci s městem Kyjovem je v současné době šest lidí, kteří věnují svou energii, čas a finanční prostředky na rozpoutání této akce. Vítají jakoukoli vaši podporu. Odhadované náklady na výrobu desky, instalaci, slavnostní odhalení a přelet letadla dosáhnou 40 tisíc. korun.

Případné nevyčerpané prostředky poukážeme domovu Sue Ryder, kde nalezli útočiště mnozí veteráni i jejich blízcí.

Číslo účtu je 2900718228/2010, v mezinárodním formátu IBAN: CZ77 2010 0000 0029 0071 8228 a BIC: FIOBCZPP

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Pavel Svoboda se narodil 28.června 1916 v obci Bohuslavice u Kyjova na moravském Slovácku. Po maturitě na gymnáziu v Kyjově studoval na Právnické fakultě v Brně. V brněnském aeroklubu získal pilotní zkušenosti v akci ”1000 pilotů republice”. 17. listopadu 1939 byl po zásahu okupantů proti českým vysokým školám odvlečen z Kounicových kolejí s dalšími studenty do koncentračního tábora Oranienburg. Před Vánocemi 1939 byl se skupinou nemocných studentů propuštěn a odjel domů. Již 1. ledna 1940 odešel přes Slovensko, Maďarsko, Jugoslávii, Řecko a Libanon, do zahraničního odboje ve Francii. V únoru 1940 byl zařazen k 1. čs. dělostřeleckému pluku v Sigeanu.

Podal si však přihlášku k letectvu a v dubnu 1940 byl přidělen k letecké skupině v Agde. V červnu 1940 byl evakuován z Port Vendres přes Gibraltar do Anglie a vyslán k Československému leteckému depu v Cosfordu, kde se hlásil do pilotní školy. K RAF nastoupil 25. 7. 1940. Pro nedostatek střelců byl cvičen na palubního střelce. Od listopadu 1940 pokračoval ve výcviku v cvičné letce 311. československé bombardovací perutě. Od 27. 5. 1941 již létal operačně v posádce Aloise Šišky, na letounu Vickers Wellington KX-B. Z letiště East Wretham odlétal 37 bojových letů na cíle v Německu i Itálii.

Dne 28. 8. 1941 při návratu z náletu na Janov byl jejich letoun donucen nouzově přistát. Před Vánocemi 1941 se Pavel oženil s Dánkou Ellen Peterson. Ale již za několik dní, 28. 12. 1941, když se Wellington KX-B vracel z náletu na německý přístav Wilhelmshaven, musel pro hořící motor nouzově přistát ve vlnách Severního moře. Zadní střelec, Rudolf Skalický (Blondy), zahynul v potopeném letounu. Ostatním pěti členům posádky se podařilo dostat do gumového člunu (dinghy), ve kterém pak za nesmírných útrap strávili na moři 6 dnů, než je vítr a vlny vyvrhly na holandské pobřeží u obce Petten. Dne 2. 1. 1942 zemřeli Josef Tománek a Josef Mohr. Alois Šiška, Pavel Svoboda a Josef Ščerba byli nalezeni dvanáctiletým Thomasem Zuyderlandem, který sbíral naplavené dříví na břehu. Byli zajati a po vyléčení zranění a omrzlin skončili v zajateckém táboře Stalag Luft IIIB v Lambsdorfu.

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Posted in 311 Sqd, Forthcoming Events, Not Forgotton, POW | Leave a comment

Miles Magister

History:

Following the success of the civilian Miles M2 Hawk Trainer as an elementary trainer in the mid-1930s, the first low-wing monoplane to be adopted as a trainer by the Royal Air Force, the company’s management decided to further develop its military trainer range . They decided to produce a derivative of the M2 Hawk Trainer to satisfy the Air Ministry’s Specification T.40/36. The submission ignored an established policy of only procuring metal aircraft which the RAF had instituted at that time. Designated the Miles M14 Magister, the aircraft first flew in May 1937 with production starting shortly thereafter and entry to RAF service beginning in October of that year.

Magister training aircraft were delivered not only to the RAF, but also to flying clubs, as well as abroad. By the beginning of World War II, the Magister was already the main machine in RAF flying schools.

Design:

The Miles Magister is a low wing cantilever monoplane primarily designed for training of RAF pilots during WW2 and its design was evolved from the earlier Miles Hawk Trainer. Main differences between the two aircraft was the enlargement of the two cockpit areas to accommodate training aids and a complete set of instruments for teaching “blind” flights, and parachute seats. The open cockpits were fitted with forward facing perspex screens. Pilots access to the cockpits was via hinged doors and wingroot walkway on the starboard side. The rear cockpit on aircraft operated by the RAF were equipped with a folding curtain, mounted on the outside rear of the cockpit, for practicing blind flights.

The Magister is largely constructed of wood, consisting of a rectangular fuselage with semicircular top, of a spruce structure with a completely sheathed plywood covering; similar materials were used for the three-piece wing and the tail unit. A protective tubular frame was installed for the front cockpit, which protected the pilot in the event of an aircraft nosedive. The wing centre section has no dihedral and is of constant section with outer sections having dihedral and tapering towards the tip. It has split flaps as standard and thus the first RAF trainer to have flaps. It has a fixed tailwheel undercarriage with drag-reducing spats on the main wheels; to reduce the landing distance, the undercarriage was fitted with Bendix drum brakes. The Magister retained the Hawk’s de Havilland Gipsy Major 4-cylinder, in-line, air-cooled De Havilland Gipsy Major, 130 hp engine. Propeller is a De Havilland wooden, constant pitch, diameter 1900 mm.

Training:

By the time WW2 was declared, over 700 Magisters were now in RAF service as its handling characteristics provided and excellent introduction for new pilots to the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire. They were used in 16 Elementary Flying Training Schools in the UK and additionally deployed with squadrons and airfields as communication ‘hacks’. In addition to this RAF usage, they were also used by the British Army and Fleet Air Arm.

By the time production had ceased in the UK in 1941, a total of 1,229 had been built in the UK, of these, 1225 entered the RAF where they served throughout the war. In the post-war period, the Magister was taken out of RAF service, with the machines that were still serviceable being sold off. They were acquired by flying clubs, private owners and the Air Force of small countries (such as Ireland or Lebanon). The Miles company itself sold aircraft after a major overhaul under the name “Hawk Trainer” MkIII. After the war, 100 Magisters were built under license in Turkey.

Miles Magister Specifications:

Powerplant:

1 × de Havilland Gipsy Major I four cylinder air-cooled inverted in-line piston engine, 130 hp (97 Kw)

Performance:

Max speed:142 mph (229 km/h,Cruise speed: 122 mph (196 km/h),Service Ceiling height: 16,500 ft (5,000m),

Dimensions:

Wing span:3 ft 10 in (10.31m), Length: 24ft 7.5 in (7.506m), Max Height: 6ft 8 in (2.03m), Range:367 miles (591 km).

Weight:

Unladen: 1,286 lb (583 kg), Max laden: 1,900 (862 kg)

Armament:

None

Crew:

2

******
Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd, Aircraft, Information | 2 Comments

Tiger Moths Used by Czechoslovak Airmen

During WW2, for many new Czechoslovak airmen, their first encounter with the de-Havilland Tiger Moth was for their initial training aircraft at a Elementary Service Flying Training School after their selection for pilot training. These aircraft were often was also to be found at RAF airfields were they were used as communications “hacks” transport to ferry the squadron pilots to other locations.

The three Czechoslovak fighter squadrons were no exception to such usage, Tiger Moths known to have been used are:

<
Squadron:Serial Number: Period:Comments:
310:
DE34214/11/43
to
14/04/44
To the Admiralty 6/45.
DE62630/06/43
to
24/09/43
On 06/11/43, during a take-off, flown by Sgt Josef Čermák, at a height of approx 8 mtrs and a speed of 95 km/h, the engine failed. The pilot tried to make a turn to avoid a collision with a group of trees, during the manoeuvre the right wing of his plane touched the ground and the aircraft crashed at Woodmans Green, Sussex. The aircraft had heavy damage on the port side wing, engine bed and carriage, the pilot suffered light injuries.
N919009/07/44
to
15/07/44
moved to 504 Sqn. Post WW2 on civilian register as 5283M.
NL97811/01/45
to
19/01/45

13/02/45
to
11/05/45

On 19/01/45 this aircraft was caught in a storm over the airfield and hit the wall of a hangar.Both of his wings and the tail section were damaged. After repairs in No.71 MU the aircraft was returned to the unit.

Subsequently moved to 11 Elementary Flying Traing School. Post WW2 in collision with N6547 near Leuchars 17/11/48.

R502815/07/44
to
19/10/44
Damaged beyond repair 19/10/44.
T611011/10/42
to
01/07/43
When 310 Sqn was redeployed from Exeter to Castletown, this aircraft was left there for 131 Sqn. Post WW2 to Dutch Air Force as A-12, then D-EDAL, then PH-TYG.
312:
AX78306/08/43
to
03/10/44

13/02/45
to
11/05/45

Blown into hangar in gale Bradwell Bay 19/01/45. Transferred to 313 Sqn. Post WW2 on civilian register as G-AFMC.
DE37929/09/42
to
04/07/43
Replacement for Miles Magister V1014 which left the unit on 08/10/1942.
When 313 Sqn re-deployed to Castletown this aircraft was left at Exeter for 131 Sqn.
DE37329/06/43
to
14/04/44

13/02/45
to
11/05/45

To the Admiralty 6/45. Sruck off Charge 31/10/46.
DE67601/12/44
to
20/04/45

13/02/45
to
11/05/45

Sold in 1946 became G-AITD.
T825419/11/44
to
25/11/44

13/02/45
to
11/05/45

The aircraft was used by No. 312 Sqn before It was placed upon the register. F/Sgt Alois Štanc’s accident test from 10/10/44 is clear evidence that he lost control over the aircraft during taxing to test flight and hit parked Spitfire ML214 of 126 Sqn.

Crashed in a forced landing at Abberton, Essex 25/11/44.
Returned to unit 310 on 28/09/1943.

On 07/11/1943 it was flown by Sgt Josef Čermák. During take off at a height of approximately 8 metres and speed of 95km/h it lost the engine power. The pilot tried to make a turn to avoid a collition with a group of trees. During the manoeuvre the right wing of his plane touched the ground and the aircraft crashed resulting in heavy damage on the port side wing, engine bed and carriage. The pilot suffered light injuries.

Tipped up in forced landing while lost in bad visibility Abberton Essex 25/11/44.

313:
AX78303/10/44
to
19/01/45
At Bradwell Bay, early morning on 19/01/1945, aircraft was caught in a storm and hit the wall of a hangar resulting in damage to both wings and the tail section. Post WW2 went onto civilian register as G-AFMC.
DE47904/07/43
to
18/02/44
On 18/02/1944 at 15:30 when flown by F/Sgt František Fanta lost engine power during take off from Ibsley to Medlesham. Aircraft ended in a ditch resulting in damage. Pilot unharmed. Aircraft later transferred to No 3 Elementery Flying Training School. Post WW2 went onto civilian register as VH-BPV, crashed at Pura Pura Victoria, Australia, 24/12/58.
T619507/10/42
to
04/07/43
Post WW2 on civilian register as G-AMKI (OH-ELB), then as EI-AGC. Crashed at Killiney Strand, Eire 15/07/55.
NL69911/07/44
to
23/08/44
The aircraft belonged to the Skaebrae airfield where No. 313 squadron was stationed from 11/7/1943. On 23/8/1944 the Tiger Moth mentioned above was crashed by F/Sgt W H Hallat, a British member of the unit, in heavy wind on Sanday the emergency airfield at Orkney islands. The aircraft was heavily damaged.
NM118 moved to 24 Elementary Flying Training School. Post WW2, hit tree on approach to RAF Church Fenton 30/04/49.
NM146 moved to 118 Sqn. Post WW2 went onto civillian register as G-ANTA and then onto the French register as F-OASD.
T6463
to
06/42
The aircraft belonged to the Flight at Churchstanton airfield and sometimes was used by pilots of no. 313 squadron which was stationed here for a year from June 1942. Post WW2 went onto civilian register as G-ANMR and then onto French register as F-BGZN.
T7733Post WW2 went onto civilian registers as G-ANKY and then SE-CGE

Czechoslovak pilots occasionally also flew other Tiger Moths whilst serving in British RAF squadrons:

Pilot:

Serial Number:

Sqn:

Comment:

F/Lt Tomáš Kruml

T7182

66 Sqn

also DE611 in May 1943 with 122 Sqn.

F/Lt Tomáš Kruml

DE611

122 Sqn

in May 1943.

F/O Hlado

DE899

122 Sqn

in May 1943.

F/Lt Jiří Maňák

DE530

182 Sqn

S/Ldr Jiří Maňák

DE765

198 Sqn

in 1943.

F/Sgt Alois Dvořák

T8204

501 Sqn

Sgt V Brejcha

N6835

257 Sqn

Was killed on 19.6.1941 in this aircraft which was borrowed from RAF Coltishall. During a training flight, he crashed in mist on the East coast. His body was wash up later near Southwold.

From 1942 until August 1945 a number of the Czechoslovak airmen served with 510 Sqn at RAF Hendon. The squadron had wide selection of single and twin-engined aircraft in its flight. Amongst the pilots flying Tiger Moths K4276, N6946, N9444, in this squadron were F/Lt Bohumír Fürst and F/Lt Alois Vrecl.

Serial Number:

Comment:

K4276

Post WW2 added to civilian register as G-AOJX then OO-EVS then toBrussels Museum.

N6946

Post WW2 added to civilian register as G-AOEI, then to Shuttelworth Collection and in July 1958 sold to the CFG Flying Ltd, Cambridge, UK, where it is still used for flight training.

N9444

Struck off Charge 28/10/44

Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, Aircraft | Leave a comment

Escapes of Karel Stastny


Karel Šťastný was a 311 (Czechoslovak) Sqn pilot who was born at Hošťálková, Czechoslovakia on 3 August 1918. Pre-WW2 he was a pilot, at the rank of Kapitan, in the Czechoslovak Air Force. When the Germans occupied Czechoslovakia, on 15 March 1939, it became a German Protectorate and Slovakia became a German ‘puppet’ state. The Czechoslovak Air Force and Army was disbanded and all personnel demobilised.

German Occupation:

Like many of his former Czechoslovak Air Force colleagues, Karel could not reconcile himself to the Munich surrender and subsequent occupation. Amongst the now demobilised former members of the Czechoslovak military, rumours were being heard that Czechoslovak military units were being formed in Poland for the purpose of fighting for the freedom of their homeland. Karel was one of many who responded to this news and investigated further. He was put in contact with the Obrana Národa [Defence of the Nation] an underground organisation formed since the German occupation in order to get military personnel to Poland.

Karel, with colleagues on their escape to Poland.

To Poland:

On the night of 1 August 1939, with five colleagues, Karel covertly left Czechoslovakia by illegally crossing the border into Poland, however his reception at the border was far from cordial. Poland herself was a troubled land, internally disrupted by mass Jewish emigration and gripped in tension as to her own territorial fate, such fear and suspicion magnified to an intense degree along her frontiers with Nazi Germany on the western border and Russia on the eastern border. Increasing numbers of fleeing Czechs had become an embarrassing problem for the Polish Authorities and the only sanctuary offered to them was transfer to a transit camp at Bronowice Małe, a former Polish army barracks on the outskirts of Kraków.

Czechoslovaks at Bronowice Małe, Summer 1939.

The camp was now near dereliction and now used to provide accomodation for the sudden influx of Czech fugitives. Here, Karel joined some two hundred of his fellow countrymen, all servicemen like himself, who had mistakenly assumed Poland might welcome this augmentation to its manpower. Instead, their one salvation seemed to lie in the somewhat desperate measure of enrolment into the French Foreign Legion. This possibility was first mooted by one Czechoslovak Army Officer in their midst, Lieutenant Colonel Ludvík Svoboda, who subsequently trained in Russia and was to become the first post-war President of Czechoslovakia. But the negotiations between the Czechoslovak Consulate in Kraków and his counter-part in Paris took time.

Meanwhile the sparse wooden huts at Bronowice Małe afforded little comfort, nor did the limited and fast-dwindling resources they had brought with them, permit of much escapism outwith the confines of the camp. It was a waiting game, leaving plenty of time for contemplating the future.

Escape from Poland:

During the Spring and Summer some 1200 Czechoslovak military escapees had already departed from Bronowice Małe for France, travelling from Gydnia, on the Polish Baltic coast, where between 12 May to 18 August 1939, six ship sailings had taken them to France. By the end of that August, a further 900 escapees were still at camp waiting to go to France.

The Germans invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 and the Czechoslovak escapees at Bronowice Małe had to evacuate the camp to avoid being captured. A group of 860, led by Lt/Col Svoboda departed the camp by train for Leśno, some 600km in northern Poland in an attempt to reach Gydnia and be evacuated from there. A further group of 78 Czechoslovak airmen, under the command of kapitán František Divoký, remained at the camp to collect any late escapees before they also departed from Bronowice Małe – Karel was with this latter group.

Czechoslovak escapees in transit from Bronowice Małe, Summer 1939.

The Germans invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 and on 2 days later kapitán Divoký and his group evacuated Bronowice Małe. Because of the advancing Germans, they were unable to travel directly north to Leśno and so first travelled east by train to Tarnow, 85 km away and then intended to travel north from there. However about 6km before Tarnow, the train could go no further because the track had been destroyed by Luftwaffe bombing. They continued their journey on foot to Mielka. At midday on 8 September they depart north by train to Rozwadow by train, some 400km away, but again they encountered Luftwaffe bombing which had destroyed the track and had to walk the final 20km. In view of the rapid advance of the German blitzkreig, they decided to turn South and the following day they arrived by train to Lubin, just as the Luftwaffe were bombing the city – and a further three raids by evening. By train and often by foot when the rail tracks had been destroyed by bombing – walking 50 km in a single day on 11 September – they made their way to Terebovlya, Ukraine, arriving on 16 September. That evening they continued by train to Czortkow, Ukraine.

Czechoslovak escapees enroute to Romania, September 1939.

Now clear of the Polish invasion, their plan now was to travel to Romania from where they could get to a Mediterranean port and then board a ship which would take them to France. On 17 September, they left by train for Khryplyn, Ukraine heading south to Delyatyn from where they would march to the Romanian border. The Romanian authorities, transported them to former military barracks at Pitesti. Kapitán Divoký contacted the French Consulate in Bucharest, and after their intervention, and issuing the group French passports, they were then able to able secure permission for the airmen to leave the country. On 8 November they sailed from the Romanian port of Constanta to Beirut and from there to Marseille, France. Here they were transferred to the Czechoslovak transit camp at nearby Agde. From here, the Czechoslovak airmen were transferred into l’Armée d’Air and began their training with French aircraft.

Escape from France:

The Germans invaded France on 10 May 1940 and their blitzkreig tactic, used very successfully in Poland the previous September was equally successful in France, causing the French military to having to keep evacuating Westward. Following the fall of Paris, morale crumbled, communications broke down and, with a French capitulation imminent, the Czechoslovak airmen were released from their l’Armée d’Air service so that they could make their way to England, from where they could carry on the fight. A contingent of 93, led by Major Alexander Hess withdrew to the coast at Bordeaux where they hopped to find a ship to take them to England. They were evacuated on the ‘Ary Schaeffer’, a small Dutch merchant ship, on 19 June 1940 and after a prolonged voyage far out into the Atlantic, to avoid attack by Luftwaffe aircraft, they arrived four days later at Falmouth, England.

With 311 Sqn at East Wretham:

After security checks on arrival to the UK, Karel was accepted into the RAF Volunteer Reserve on 23 July, 1940, and posted to 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron.

Initially, the squadron was comprised of a force of only nine Vickers Wellington MkIc twin engined, bombers, each with a crew consisting of 1st and 2nd Pilots, Navigator, Wireless Operator and two Gunners. These hard-pressed aircraft were airborne almost round the clock. By day, as 1429 Czechoslovak Operational Training Unit, they served to train new aircrews, but at night-fall, duly re-fuelled and loaded with a full bomb-load, they were manned by their operational crews, on missions to destroy some enemy-held target. As new crews completed their training, so the squadron gradually increased to a dozen aircraft, but losses, as there inevitably were, presented great problems.

Vickers Wellington Mk Ic.

Escape from Wellington R1718

On the night of 16 July 1941, 311 Sqn despatched eight Wellington bombers for a raid on Hamburg, taking-off at minute intervals from 23:01. One of the aircraft, WR1718 (KX-N), was crewed by Sgt Jaroslav Nyč Captain, Sgt Karel Šťastny, co-pilot, P/O Jaroslav Zafouk,navigator, P/O Otakar Černy, wireless operator, Sgt František Knap, front-gunner and Sgt Jiří Mareš, rear-gunner took-off from East Wretham at 23:07. After taking-off no more was heard from them.

Almost from the outset of their operational tour, the crew had become acquainted with anti-aircraft fire during bombing raids, but there was none that 16th night of July, 1941 as they droned high over the Netherlands, bound for Hamburg. Without warning, the Wellington bomber was suddenly buffeted in a violent oscillation – triggered, it seemed, by an explosion under Karel’s seat.

At 00:50, they were attacked by a Me110 Luftwaffe night-fighter, flown by Leutnant Rudolf Schoenert of the 4./NJG 1, who was flying Bf 110 C-7 G9+JM from Bergen airfield, Holland. In immediate reaction, the aircrafts two pilots strained to bring the Wellington back on to a level course, until it became obvious that it could neither regain height nor be counteracted in its downward trend. The bomber’s erratic behaviour, combined with the flames now flaring into the fuselage behind, prompted Nyč to make an urgent roll-call amongst the crew.

The crew was intact, but the fire was spreading and a bomb-laden Wellington was no place to linger, so Nyč gave the command for the them to bale out. They successfully baled out, although Nyč, the pilot, was momentarily trapped by a jammed hatch, but was able to break it free and take to his parachute.

Karel had struggled out of his seat and clambered in defiance of the Wellington’s diving tilt towards the nearest means of exit. The nearest was the exit hatch, directly behind his seat, and was already open. He tried to move to its flaming outline, braced to experience his first parachute descent, but was sharply jerked to a halt by the cables of his intercom. and oxygen mask, which he had forgotten to disconnect.

Held fast by the taut flexes across his throat, which already raw from breathing acrid smoke, while the heavy Wellington gathered momentum as it plunged earthward. Summoning every last ounce of his might, he managed to disconnect the restraining cables and exited through the hatch out of the now spiralling inferno. Had the Wellington not been flying at an altitude in excess of 18,000 feet, it is virtually certain that a lesser descent of the bomber would have taken Karel with it into when it crashed into the IJsselmeer off Tacozijl, Holland.

After baling out of the stricken aircraft, Sgt Jiří Mareš landed in the Zuider Zee and was drowned and interred by the Germans at Lemmer. With that exception, none of the other crew members were seriously injured, but they held little hope of retaining their liberty, when their flaming aircraft and its subsequent crash, was certain to have aroused German occupation forces into a thorough search for survivors.

One feature of the night’s dramatic events was clearly imprinted upon Karel’s mind: that there had been no flak, he was convinced. Experience had taught him that even a close miss was invariably accompanied by the smell of gunpowder that had not been noticeable. Instead, the explosion was within the Wellington itself, directly under the Captain’s seat and Karel was never known to retract his conviction that it was the dastardly work of a saboteur.

Prisoner of War

The blazing aircraft had most certainly alerted German troops and it was only a matter of hours until tracker dogs in the charge of armed soldiers, had located every crew-member. They were taken by army truck to Amsterdam where Karel was allocated number 39287 by his captors. After interrogation, they were transferred to Stalag IXc at Bad Sulza, Germany. Karel’s next move was on 26 April 1942 when he was transferred to Stalag Luft IIID at Sagan, in Poland.

The huts were large ones with double bunks accommodating some 40 men. Conditions were harsh in the extreme. Food was appallingly inadequate, the German interpretation of a prisoner’s daily food allowance (within the terms of the Geneva Convention) amounting to a mere 1/12th of a loaf of bread (three thin slices at most), three small potatoes and a bowl of soup. Even this scanty meal was further depleted, when, at the finish of their stored season, many of the potatoes were rendered quite inedible.

Frequently and especially in hot weather, the so-called soup was rancid and could only be consumed when the nostrils were pinched together. The onset of winter lowered despondency to a new level as their under-nourished bodies strived to ward off the bitter cold. Had it not been for the weekly distribution of Red Cross parcels, the sick-list would surely have reached greater proportions. Those parcels sustained them in spirit as well as in body, providing a link with the outside world with a silent rally of hope that this limbo state would not last forever.

The parcels came, in turn, from three sources – Great Britain, Canada and the United States of America – portions being, not surprisingly, more liberal from the two American countries than those out of strictly-rationed Britain. The contents averaged a small tin of butter, cheese, tinned meat, powdered milk and dried eggs, sardines, jellies, some chocolate and forty cigarettes. A certain meat loaf seemed, even to their deprived palates, overly lacking in a reasonable meat-content and gave rise to a joked threat that, after the war, they would unitedly seek out the supplier named on each tin and shoot him as an enemy agent.

It was soon after being taken prisoner that Karel decided to grow a beard and this image he was to maintain for the duration of his captivity, except for a few occasional and brief resorts to his razor. Even then, he retained the substantial moustache, without which, he never was seen thereafter.

Stalag Luft IIID expanded, with the erection of additional huts within its confines and new arrivals swelled the roll-calls. In mid-October 1942, a truck brought in a batch, who had just been discharged from hospital care, among them, Zdeněk Sichrovský. If prisoners they must both be, then it was good that they were together, but Karel was distressed to see such change in his old friend and gradually to learn the details of the dreadful crash, which had almost cost Zdeněk both his legs.

His Wellington bomber, KX-J, T2971, piloted by Sgt Jindřich Svoboda has received a direct hit from anti-aircraft fire, after a raid on Bremen, killing his navigator and wireless operator outright and extensively burning the other crew members. They had no option but to make a forced landing at 22:36 north of Tilburg, Holland. Zdeněk himself had been thrown out of the aircraft by the impact of the crash, thus escaping burns, but not severs injuries embracing nine broken ribs a cracked skull and many excruciating and complicated bone fractures in both legs. In hospital in Tilburg, Holland, the German doctors had, in fact, recommended amputation of both legs below the knee, but, encouraged by the experienced optimism of a Dutch nursing nun, he elected instead, for the long and painful treatment by surgery, plaster casts and traction. It had taken nine months to patch him up and the suffering endured was clearly evident as he painfully struggled to regain his ability to walk.

Stalag Luft I, Barth.

Stalag Luft I – Barth

On 16 October 1942, only a few days after Sichrovský’s arrival, the entire camp was transferred by railway cattle trucks, to Stalag Luft I, at Barth, on the Baltic coast of Germany. It was a much smaller compound, with smaller huts, each divided into three rooms. A room held three bunk beds, a stove, a table and 2 benches as well as a cupboard in which, they stored the combined contents of their food parcels. They had discovered that it was advantageous to pool the food items and had nominated Sichrovský their chef, he having proved himself the most competent cook amongst them, capable of serving some remarkably palatable snacks from even this, very limited, larder.

Another useful accomplishment, was Sichrovský’s skill in watch­ repairing. No doubt in consideration of his physical incapacity, permission was granted for him to receive two boxes of watch parts from the Red Cross in Geneva. Karel made a small lathe for him and they were in business.

Most of the prisoners engaged in some pursuit; some painted pictures whilst others developed an interest in metalwork. For this, they saved up the foil wrapping within cigarette packets, smelted it down into a base metal and from this, all manner of objects were, with considerable artistry, created. Such was the wealth of talent in and support for, this particular craft, that an impressive exhibition was eventually staged, the array somewhat dominated by a grotesque death-mask of none other than Sichrovský.

This outward show of resignation to their plight, was a concealment of a further hive of industry, namely the assembly of contributions towards escape projects. German uniforms were duplicated, after painstaking unpicking of British ones, each piece then carefully pressed and re-fashioned, using the reverse side of the fabric, thus effecting a close resemblance to the material worn by a German soldier. Metal buttons were cast from plaster moulds. Papers were stolen, ‘borrowed’ or bartered and the temporary ‘loan’ of a typewriter allowed moulds of all type-face to be taken, for subsequent compilation into the rubber stamps, so imperative for authenticity in identity and travel documents.

Stalag Luft III, Sagan.

First PoW Escape:

It was one matter to prepare for escapes but another to survive the manifold hazards which undoubtedly lurked in the alien territory beyond camp. That much, Karel had, to his chagrin, learned when he made his first bid for freedom in the summer of 1942, out of Stalag Luft III-D.

Under cover of darkness, he and another prisoner had accomplished an undetected exit, after cutting their way through the double perimeter wire fences. Not until many miles separated the from the camp did they slacken their pace, having navigated themselves to a predetermined railway.

Momentarily, they lay amid shrubbery on the embankment, to regain their breath and decide in which direction might lie the nearest signals, where a train might have cause to slow down. A goods train did just that and once hidden beneath the tarpaulin cover of a wagon, they allowed themselves a small measure of congratulatory elation that they had made it and were speeding in the direction of Czechoslovakia.

Fate however, was to deal a unkind hand. After some time the train’s erratic shunting behaviour and a prolonged halt tempted Karel to risk a careful survey of their whereabouts and to his consternation, he saw that they had been shunted into the loading yard of what was surely, a German munitions factory. Here security was maximum – not only was the yard brightly illuminated beneath its blacked-out roof, but sectional walls were topped with barbed wire and amongst the small army of workers already unloading the train, he could discern numerous armed guards. By comparison, escape from Stalag Luft IIID had been relatively simple and there could be no unobserved retreat from this secure area.

2nd PoW Escape:

Karel, with other Czechoslovak Prisoner of War, at Stalag Luft I.

The severity of a German winter, with its snows and extreme cold was a formidable deterrent to further escape speculation. Karel recognised only too well, the rigours’s of life on the run and the greatly reduced chances of success, in inclement weather conditions. In any case, he had to await Spring to avail himself of the particular means by which he hoped to quit Barth Camp.

Among the inmates of Stalag Luft 1 was a percentage of civilian refugees of Russian extraction – non-combatants whom war had buffeted into a slave labour situation here at Barth, their days spent in wearisome agricultural toil whenever weather allowed, in return for one unappetising and barely sufficient meal, at the end of each day.

The opportunity of escape, by changing places with one of these refugees, was an obvious one, but fraught with the danger of recognition by a guard or even betrayal. Karel waited and watched, before making his choice of a likely co-operator, meanwhile hoarding his own Red Cross parcels, to the sacrifice of any complementary meals. One morning in early Summer, he hurriedly relinquished his bribe and donned the clothes of a field- worker, taking his place in their sullen ranks, tense and expectant that the ruse would fail. But it succeeded and from the open fields he edged gradually to the cover of nearby shrubbery and ultimate woods.

He deemed it imperitive that he remain isolated from civilisation and essential, therefore, that he travel only by night. In his present refugee clothing he lacked the protection afforded by his uniform should he apprehended and could be shot as a spy. A second day passed in hiding, the hunger pangs which plagued him barely relieved by gnawing on a few raw potatoes gleaned from a field.

The stars guided. his north-easterly route towards Czechoslovakia. Some fugitives from PoW camps opted for a route to Yugoslavia and and many did, in fact, reach that country to fight again with the partisans. But Karel pressed steadfastly homewards, each 24 hours of freedom setting the seal on success. His diet remained raw vegetables, potatoes or turnips mostly, but drought conditions roused the more pressing torment of thirst. He would not permit himself to venture near farms where there might be water troughs or barrels – such places also had people and worse, vigilant dogs.

In his third week of freedom he was crazed by thirst, until mercifully a ground mist formed one dawn and he lay on the moist grass greedily sucking the droplets of dew. As his panting gradually abated unbelievable sound reached his ears the tantalising gurgling of water – and soon he was floundering in the shallow depths of a vastly evaporated river bed. With his thirst satisfied, and aglow from the cold dousing, his spirits rose as he lay in a hiding place re-assessing his chances.

It was his 17th day of freedom – surely he was rid of the pursuing search-parties which had undoubtedly been sent forth after him from Barth. His reckoning told him he might well be within one more night’s trail of the border. Surely thus refreshed and spurred by this anticipation he would cross into his homeland before another dawn. In this state of reassurance he discreetly spread his clothes to dry in the heat of the day while he drifted on into an oblivion interspersed with dreams of home-coming.

The sun was in its zenith when Karel was startled back to consciousness by the proximity of two dogs sniffing around him. Beyond them, with steady gait, the figure of a man approached, a broken shot-gun resting easily in the crook of his right arm. Karel scrambled to his feet, but the man made no move to cock his gun and was still very much in charge of the obedient hounds.

As he questioned Karel, his accent revealed him to be a Czech, and an apparently innocent game­keeper engaged on his daily patrol. Karel felt himself weakening with relief, yet could not dispel a nagging mistrust of the shelter offered and promise of subsequent assistance in a clandestine crossing of the border, which, as he had calculated, was but a few miles distant. How prudent was his instinct, for even before they cleared the spinny a dozen and more German soldiers ran to meet them and Karel realised that his discovery had actually taken place earlier, either as he slept on or perhaps he had been spotted as he bathed in the stream. It was just too coincidental, to suppose that a truck-load of armed soldiers had been passing. Feelings of disappointment over this 11th hour disintegration of all his endeavours and dejection at the prospect of further captivity, took time to develop in him.

For the moment, his whole being was consumed by a loathsome contempt for the fellow-countryman who, so readily, had abused his trust and stooped to betrayal. Karel managed to convey his disgust for the traitor, before rough hands were laid upon him and brutal blows rained upon his face and head, from the rifle­ butts of his captors. Thus ended his 17-day liberty – further misery and deprivation awaiting him in a dank, lone cell back in Barth.

His prolonged absence had, understandably, encouraged an assumption of his success, among the inmates of Stalag Luft I. His re-appearance, after such an interval, therefore had a decidely shattering effect on the few onlookers who witnessed his return. Not only did the revelation of his failure depress them, but they were deeply shocked to note the battered face that rendered him barely recognisable.

Four weeks in solitary confinement was the customary punishment for re-captured escapees. Karel knew only too well, from memories of Sagan, what was in store for him. It meant survival on the most meagre amount of swill to keep him at subsistence level and no more. And again, he found himself glad to gnaw on fragments of coal, in a vain attempt to stave off the gripes of overwhelming hunger his sole comfort being the few crusts tossed through his window in sympathetic token, by a band of prisoners led by Sichrovský. But, with grit, he withstood this destitution and the long month ended at last.

Third PoW Escape:

Incredibly, Karel was not defeated by the two unsuccessful escapes, for indeed, failures they had not been, both beset by cruel and unexpected twists of fate.

He was determined to try again and preparations were put in hand. For months he hoarded and bartered chocolate bars, to fill the little attache case which was to be an essential accessory to the role he contrived, namely that of a civilian worker. It was getting on for Winter, but he planned to travel by train as far as possible, thus trusting that the somewhat shabby trousers, jacket, cap and scarf procured for him would suffice. Finally, the forged papers and a small amount of money were available and he was ready to go.

His secret plan was confirmed to the few friends whose assistance he needed to help smuggle his disguise to the ablutions block, where, after the other prisoners had showered and departed, Karel remained in hiding, to wait out the tense hours until darkness descended. He then made his way toward the double fences, carefully timing each spurt between the sweep of the searchlight, cut a small hole through the fence and then further to gain cover of the scrub, some distance beyond. Momentarily he thought “so far so good” and permitted himself to wonder how long might his freedom last this time, before grimly pressing on into the night.

It seemed suddenly strange to walk along a proper tarmac road. He tried to adopt an air of nonchalance through the outskirts and into the town, which was now wakening for the day’s business. He had breakfasted on some chocolate, which only served to confirm his fear that such a diet was going to prove monotonous, if not downright sickening. Still, this independent food supply obviated the risk involved in contact with shopkeepers, cafes and even the ubiquitous German militia nor did he have money to spend on ought but travel. As it was, his meagre resources would hardly get him far and he might well have to resort to less than honest tactics, to cover the considerable distance he intended. He would exercise maximum caution until he gauged the risks and he noted, with relief, that his guise did. not seem to arouse any undue attention.

It was not his dress which gave him away, but a simple irregularity in his papers. From time to time, the German Authorities introduced additional or re-styled endorsement stamps to up-date passes, in an effort to tighten the net cast to catch deserters and other fugitives. Unfortunately, Barth’s Escape Comittee had not been acquainted with the latest of these alterations and the discrepancy came to light when Karel chanced to be selected by a railway Policeman during a random document inspection. It was at the barrier as an anxious crowd jostled to pass through to the waiting train. A foul stroke of luck it was for him to be one of those waylaid, just as it was a crushing blow to be thus intercepted in Sudetenland, so close to Czechoslovakia and safety.

Examination of his attache case only condemned him further and he was transferred into Civil Police custody, incarcerated in a cell beneath the Police Station, for several days while they verified his true identity. During this detention the only food he received was bitter, raw, salt fish while all liquids were denied.

From this private hell, he was almost glad that on 3 November 1943, to be sent to Oflag IV-B, at Mühlberg, some 30 miles North of Dresden, Germany. Holding some 30,000 prisoners from 33 different countries, it was the largest prisoner-of-war camps in Germany during World War II – in reputation, second only to the infamous Colditz. There Karel was to experience his third term of the injustices of solitary confinement.

A new year dawned, bringing with it an abundance of rumours for the prisoners’ speculation. News filtered into the camp of successive Allied victories and the increasing certainty that Germany was on the brink of defeat. It was 1945 and a March morning brought dramatic confirmation of these stories, when the entire camp seemed to erupt in a fever of activity. Since daybreak lorries had been trundling out of the gates and soon the prisoners were urgently aligned and marched out, under escort, soon to overtake streams of fleeing civilians. Everyone and everything moved in an easterly direction – the rout was on.

As far as the eye could see the road ahead was clogged, but gradually the Army lorries hooted a passage through, taking all food supplies with them. Many of the prisoners were already under-nourished and weakened visibly under the demands of such unrelenting physical exertion, without sustenance. Hunger pangs attacked Karel too but he was not slow to recognise a potential meal when a cat happened along. Without hesitation he wrung its neck, skinned and dressed it, to provide a meal surely to be tolerated by none but the utterly desperate.

Fitful sleep was snatched by the roadside and another daybreak saw them force themselves into a reluctant resumption of the gruelling trek.

Mid-morning brought an unexpected jolt from their torpid nightmare, when, out of the sky behind them roared a single-file formation of fighter ‘planes, each in turn, swooping low over the straggling column and strafing its length – the machine­ gun fire scattering the dazed pedestrians into the ditches on either side. When Karel sensed their passing he raised his head and clearly saw the insignia on the last aircraft – ironically the star of the United States Army Air Force. Threat, though these undoubtedly brought, their presence was nonetheless reassuring, for it promised the close proximity of Allied Forces. And rescue was indeed at hand, when, soon after American ground forces caught up and took them into welcome care.

Repatriation:

The end of hostilities in Europe did not take place for a further seven weeks, but for Karel, the war ended that April day.

He underwent several postings; from a Prisoner Release Centre he moved on, in mid-May to the Czechoslovak Depot at Cosford; two months later, he joined a Group Pool and finally from RAF Manston, in Kent, England, he took his farewell of the Royal Air Force under repatriation to Czechoslovakia, just two days before Japan too, capitulated.

Escape from Czechoslovakia:

On return to Czechoslovakia, he remained in the Czechoslovak Air Force, but following the Communist take-over in February 1948, those who had served with the Allies in the West during WW2, were systematically dismissed from the Czechoslovak military and then persecuted by the State Security Service with many being imprisoned. This resulted in many of the former Czechoslovak RAF personnel to escape and go into exile again in the West.

In Karel’s case, he was dismissed from Czechoslovak Air Force in March 1948, but managed to escape to the West, with 21 others in a DC3 aircraft on 14/07/48 from Prague Kbely and flying Manston, England.

DC3.

About 03:30 on 14 June 1948 a Dakota DC3 [C47], with serial no 43-48406, and Czechoslovak Air Force markings, landed at RAF Manston, Kent England. On board were 17 men of military age, two women and two boys, of 14 and 8. All of whom were Czechoslovaks. For security reasons, and to protect their families who were still in Czechoslovakia, they declined to give any details about themselves or details of the escape to the media.

The aircraft had been ‘borrowed’ from the Air Transport Regiment – Letecký dopravní pluk – from the Prague Kbely airbase in Czechoslovakia. It was late evening, Sunday 13 June. The escape group arrived at the airfield in nine separate taxi’s, from nearby Prague. Under cover of darkness the escape group of people approached the airfields perimeter fence. They were met there by a pair of security guards, named Kvapil and Koudela who were on patrol guarding the airfield. The meeting had been pre-arranged as they were going to assist with the escape. They cut a hole in the fence and the group entered the airfield.

During the afternoon of Sunday 13 June 1948, Vlastimíl Prášek, had been working on a DC3 aircraft, had its tanks filled with fuel. When he finished working on the aircraft he left it parked outside the hanger looking as if maintenance work would be continuing in the following morning.

The escape group went to where their ‘escape’ DC3 had been parked and found they had a major problem – a second DC3 had been parked in front of ‘their’ aircraft blocking its route to the grass airstrip. The aircrew, who were due to fly the escape aircraft, had a quick emergency discussion and decided that it was now too late to abort the escape attempt and they would have to use the second DC3 instead. To move it first, so that they could use their correct ‘escape’ DC3 would have alerted the airfield’. Discreetly, the escape group boarded the aircraft, the crew started the engines – one of which was reluctant to start – and immediately took-off heading East towards Horni Pocernice, a few kilometers East of Prague. Take-off was about 01:00. The pilot was Josef Bernat, ex-311 S/Ldr and pilot, Hugo Hrbáček, ex-310 S/Ldr and pilot, and Karel Šťastný ex-311 W/O and pilot. They had been serving officers in the Czechoslovak Air Force prior to their dismisal folowing the Communist take-over that March.

Amongst the other men on board, were Zdeněk Sichrovský ex-311 W/O fitter, Vlastimíl Prášek, ex-311 W/O fitter IIe, Karel Kanda, ex-312 Sgt fitter IIe, and two other ex-RAF and another man Alois Liška who had been a Division General in the Czechoslovak Army in England during WW2. Other passengers also included Karel Šťastný’s brother with his wife and two sons.

Approaching Horni Pocernice, Bernat changed course to fly West towards Cheb and then towards the American Zone of Germany. Fortunately it was a cloudy night. Whilst flying over Czechoslovak territory they maintained radio silence and all aboard kept watch for Russian fighter aircraft who were known to be looking for them. Once they had crossed into the American Zone, Bernat continued to flying West, making full use of the cloud cover as the fighters were still searching for them but, running short of fuel, they finally gave up and returned back to Czechoslovakia.

Bernat now set course for England. As they were still over the English Channel the aircraft’s fuel gauges showed empty. The aircraft touched down at Manston at about 03:30 as the aircraft had touched down on the runway, the engines cut out as the fuel tanks were empty.

This escape caused considerable upset to the Czechoslovak Communist authorities. The aircraft they had taken had been the allocated for usage by the Czechoslovak President, Klement Gottwald on his state duties and had just returned, with him, from Bratislava late that evening.

All 21 of the escape group were tried in absentia to high treason. The British newspapers had a very different reaction saying that as most of those on board had served in the RAF in WW2 it was ‘the Royal Air Force returns to England’.

The Czechoslovak government demanded the return of the aircraft. After three months of negotiations the aircraft was returned to Czechoslovakia – along with a bill for the repairs and maintenace for its stay at Manston.

No Escape:

On his return to England, Karel was able to rejoin the RAF. By January 1958 he was serving as a flying instructor with the Maritime Operational Training Unit, based at Forres-Kinloss RAF Station. On the night of 10 January 1958, he was an instructor to Fg/Off N Emsden for a night training flight in Avro Shackleton T4, VP259. The aircraft was flying night-time approaches at RAF Kinloss. During one of the circuits the Shackleton flew the pattern too high.

Avro Shackleton.

At a cloud height of 900 ft, the Shackletony flew into Haldon Hill, which was obscured by low clouds and hit trees at 800 ft and then crashed into terrain at 760ft and caught fire. Karel and Nemsden were killed and four crew members were injured.


Karel was interred at the military section at Kinloss Abbey Burial Ground and is commemorated on panel 115 of the Armed Forces Memorial at National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire, UK.


Posted in 311 Sqd, Aircraft, Biography, France, Into exile, Poland, POW, Victim of Communism | 1 Comment

Remembered – 2022


Vzpomněli jsme 2022

We, the Free Czechoslovak Air Force Associates ltd, are very pleased to announce that during 2022, our volunteers remembered the Czechoslovak RAF men and women, of WW2, at the locations listed below.

My, Free Czechoslovak Air Force Associates ltd, s velkou radostí oznamujeme, že v průběhu 2022 naši dobrovolníci na níže uvedených místech uctili památku československých mužů a žen RAF z 2. světové války.

Many thanks to them for their outstanding help to achieve this.

Jsme jim velmi vděčni za mimořádnou pomoc při dosahování tohoto cíle.

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BAHAMAS:

Nassau CWGC – FUCHS Pavel, KRUPICA Rupert, OPLATKA Adolf [Brdský Petr], ŠIMANDL Josef, STYBLÍK Miroslav, TOMEK [Treulich] Hanuš.

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CANADA:

Brandon – BLATNÝ Benedikt, FUCHS Pavel, KRUPICA Rupert, MALÝ Svatopluk, OPLATKA Adolf [Brdský Petr], PŘÍHODA Bohuslav, ŠABÍK Julius, ŠIMANDL Josef, STYBLÍK Miroslav, TOMEK [Treulich] Hanus

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Ottawa – FUCHS Pavel, KRUPICA Rupert, OPLATKA Adolf [Brdský Petr], ŠIMANDL Josef, STYBLÍK Miroslav, TOMEK [Treulich] Hanus.


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CZECH REPUBLIC:

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Bezděkov – NĚMEČEK Ladislav.


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Blovice – BEČVÁŘ Karel, BLAHNA Václav, DRNEK Miroslav.


Blovice – BLAHNA Václav.


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Brno – BUŠINA Emil.


Brno – GRYGAR Jaromír.


Brno – KEJÍK Alois František.


Brno – KEPRT Josef.


Brno – KNOTEK František.


Brno – KUČERA Otmar.


Brno – MACHÁLEK František.


Brno – MRÁZEK Emilián, MRÁZEK Karel.


Brno – ONDRŮJ Vlastimil.


Brno – TREJTNAR František.


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Bohuslavice u Kyjova – SVOBODA Pavel.


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Bystřice pod Hostýnem – ZBOŘIL Felix.


Bystřice pod Hostýnem – SADIL František.


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Dolní Břežany – PRCHAL Eduard.


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Dvorec u Nepomuku – ŠLOUF Karel, ŠLOUF Václav.


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Chocenice – VANĚČEK Václav.


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Chvalčov – HALAMÁŠEK Evžen, KRUPICA Rupert.


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Holešov .


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Horka nad Moravou – ALBRECHT Josef.


Horka nad Moravou – FORETNÍK Jaromír.


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Horní Nová Ves – LIŠKA Jaroslav.


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Jesenice – ŘECHKA Josef.


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Komárno – HORÁK Bohumil.


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Kyjov – NEDVĚD Vladimír.


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Křelov – MALÝ Svatopluk.


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Kroměříž – BACHŮREK Svatopluk, MIKULÍK Miloslav, ŠEVČÍK Ladislav, VALACH Karel.


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Lázně Bělohrad – LIŠKA Bohumil.


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Líně – NOSEK Vilém.


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Lutopecny – ŠIŠKA Alois.


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Mrzky – KOLÍNSKÝ Miroslav.


Mlázovy – SIMET Josef.


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Morkůvky – PEŘINA František.


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Nětčice – BLÁHA Josef.


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Nová Paka – HRUBÝ Otakar.


Nová Paka – FEJFAR Stanislav.


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Olomouc


Olomouc – BABÍČEK Zdeněk.


Olomouc – BRYKS Josef.


Olomouc – ČTVRTLÍK Jan, ČTVRTLÍK Miroslav.


Olomouc – HORSKÝ Vladimír, NETOPIL Bohumil, VALOUŠEK Ladislav.


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Otaslavice – BALEJKA Josef, FRANTIŠEK Josef, KOSARZ [Košař] Vilém, PAVLOVIČ Matěj.


Otaslavice – FRANTIŠEK Josef.


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Otrokovice – ŠIŠKA Alois.


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Planá – VESELÝ Erazim.


Prague – JANŠTA Karel.


Prague – Klárov – Winged Lion.


Prague – Olšany.


Prague – Vaclav Havel Airport.


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Přibice – HÁJEK Jaroslav, JANEK Jan.


Přibice – HÁJEK Jaroslav.


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Rusava – URUBA Petr.


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Skrbeň – BÍEBERLE František.


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Slatinice – HAVLÍČEK Stanislav, MIŠÁK Bernard, TALÁB Josef.


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Stará Břeclav – KOVÁČ [KOWAČ] Vladimír.


Stará Břeclav – HOLOBRÁDEK Jan.


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Štěnovice – KESTLER Oldřich.


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Topolany – MARŠÁLEK Jan, SKLENÁŘ Cyril.


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Turnov


Turnov – HRDINA Josef, LINKA Stanislav.


Turnov – DRBOHLAV Karel.


Turnov – KOŠEK Ludvík.



Turnov – ŠTRÉGL Josef.


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Vsetin – VAVŘÍNEK František.


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Vítová – DOLEŽAL Oldřich.


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Životice – BREJCHA Václav.


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FRANCE:

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Calais – PAVLOVIČ Matěj.


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Normandy – British D-Day Memorial.

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HOLLAND:

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Bergen General Cemetery – MOHR Josef


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Bergen Op Zoom – HRDINA Josef, KALENSKÝ Josef, KODEŠ Karel, PEPRNÍČEK Jan, POLITZER Josef, RYCHNOVSKÝ Karel.

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Bergen Op Zoom – HEJNA Jan, KONŠTACKÝ Vilém, ROZUM Alois, SMRČEK Leonard, VALACH Karel.



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Haelen – Wellington R1599, KX-J, Memorial.


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Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen – KOŠULIČ Václav, KRÁČMER František, KUBÍČEK Vladimír, LIFČIC [Lifcziz] Rudolf, SIXTA František, ŠTĚTKA Václav.

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Klarenbeek – JAMBOR Oldřich.


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Lemsterland – MAREŠ Jiří.


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Middenmeer – Wellington Z8838, Memorial.


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Petten – Wellington T2553 KX-B, Memorial.


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POLAND:

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Sagan – Stalag Luft III: TONDER Ivo, VALENTA Arnošt, DVOŘÁK Bedřich.


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UNITED KINGDOM:

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Black Bourton – KŘÍŽ Václav.


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Biggin Hill – St George’s Chapel – BACHŮREK Svatopluk, GÖTH Vilém, KOTHERA Zdeněk, KULHÁNEK Jaroslav.


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Brookwood




Brookwood – KREJČÍ František.


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Bury St Edmunds – MŽOUREK Alois


Bury St Edmunds – VALACH Karel


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Cambridge – EICHLER Bohuslav, HÁJEK Karel, RAŠKA František.




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Capel le Ferne


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Catterick – GUTVALD Josef.



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Chichester – FANTA František, LAŠKA Jan, LYSICKÝ Vojtěch, MORAVEC Miroslav, NOSEK Vilém, VELEBNOVSKÝ Antonín, VLK Jan.

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Cranwell (St Andrew Churchyard) Cemetery. – KAŠPAR Antonín, KRAJINA Emanuel, VOCETKA František.




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Dagenham – Eastbrookend (Dagenham) Cemetery. – MAREK František.



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Duxford


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East Wretham


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Evanton– KALÁŠEK Jaroslav


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Haddington – JÍCHA Václav.


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Haverhill – FORNŮSEK Ladislav, JANEK Jan, JELÍNEK Václav.



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Honnington


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Hornchurch – BÖNISCH [Böhnisch] František, BRÁZDA Prokop, KONVALINA Blažej, VALENTA Josef.

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Illogan – HALAMA Stanislav, KREDBA Miroslav.



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Kenley– 312 Sqn


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Harrogate – BLEIER Jiří.


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Hawkinge – The Kent Battle of Britain Museum – BALEJKA Josef, FRANTIŠEK Josef, KOSARZ [Košař] Vilém, PAVLOVIČ Matěj.


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Honington – JANOUŠEK Jiří, KŘIVDA Jan, LANG Karel, LIEBOLD Jindřich, TOŠOVSKÝ Oldřich, TOUL Jaromír, VEJRAŽKA Miloslav.


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London – Battle of Britain Memorial



London – Bohemia House.


London – Bomber Command Memorial


London – Hillingdon and Uxbridge Cemetery – KUTTELWASCHER Karel.


London – Northwood Cemetery – FRANTIŠEK Josef, KOSARZ [Košař] Vilém.



London – Pinner Cemetery – ALBRECHT Josef, MATOUŠEK Jaroslav, SLABÝ Jaroslav, VESELÝ Jan, ZAPLETAL František .




London – St Clement Danes


London – Westminster Abbey


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Lowestoft– HORKÝ František


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Malborough – ČAPEK Václav, DŘEVĚNÝ Pavel, FILIP Ján, HORNUNG Jan, KOŠEK Ludvík, NĚMEČEK Rudolf, NOVOTNÝ Karel, TARANTÍK Václav.


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Morpeth – Chevington Cemetery. – KOCOUREK Ladislav, ŠINDELÁŘ Václav.



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Oxford – ŠOFRANKO Július.


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RAF Honnington.


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Stoke-upon- Tern – Miroslav ČÁP.


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Sutton. – FRANTIŠEK Josef


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Sutton Bridge – KURKA Jan, PATLEJCH Matěj Tomáš, SCHWARZ Jiří, STIBOR Karel, ŽEROVNICKÝ Jan.

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Reigate – HORÁK Bohumil


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Runnymede


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Sittingbourne – GÖTH Vilém.


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Tain – BARVÍŘ Rudolf, BEDNÁŘ Antonín, BENEDIKT František, BODLÁK Miloš, BUREŠ Oldřich, ČERNÝ Václav, DORNIAK Martin, ENGLÄNDER Ivo, HAVRÁNEK František, HAYEK Arnošt, HNILIČKA Waltr, KOŠTÁL Josef, PALME Zdeněk, PETRÁŠEK Štěpán, ŠEBESTÍK Josef, SIMET Josef, ŠTĚTKA Štěpán, VANIŠ Jozef.


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Westwell – DYGRÝN [Ligotický] Josef.



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Weymouth



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Whittlesford – POHNER Benedikt, ZAVADIL Jaroslav.



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Whyteleafe – St. Luke Churchyard. – BĚHAL František, NASSWETER Albín.



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To help support this remembrance project please consider making a donation which will greatly assist us in this work.

Pokud byste chtěli podpořit tuto vzpomínkovou akci finančně, budeme vám velmi vděční.

Your donation can be made here.

Svůj dar můžete uskutečnit zde.

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Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd, Not Forgotton | 1 Comment

Happy Christmas – Veselé Vánoce – 2022

Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd, Happy New Year | Leave a comment

Wartime Christmas in foreign fields

Válečné Vánoce mimo domov


Neznámí českoslovenští letci v RAF vzpomínají na své Vánoce v Anglii v době 2.sv.války.

An unknown Czechoslovak RAF airmen reminiscing about their Christmases in England during WW2.

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Když se po okupaci v březnu 1939 rozhodla velká část našich pilotů odejít bojovat za hranice republiky, asi jen málokterý z nich si dokázal představit, že se do svých domovů navrátí až po dlouhých šesti letech, během kterých navštíví nespočet cizích zemí a naučí se (mimo jiné) plynně hovořit anglicky.

When, after the occupation in March 1939, the majority of our pilots decided to go and fight abroad, only a few of them could have imagined that they would not return home until 6 long years later, during which they would visit many foreign countries and (amongst other things) would learn to speak fluent English.

Tento dlouhý pobyt zahrnoval i šest oslav vánočních svátků.

This long absence also included six Christmas celebrations.

První Vánoce se pro mnohé lišily. Letce, kteří se vydali tzv. polskou cestou, potěšil jistě dar v podobě 150 franků od čs. velvyslanectví v Paříži. Peníze se hodily o to více, že čs. důstojníci i nadále sloužili v hodnostech cizineckých legionářů a podle toho byli také „placeni“. Důstojníci, jakožto četaři, pobírali 1,50 franků denně, zatímco poddůstojníci, jako prostí vojíni, 50 centimů. Mnozí letci byli tedy po příjezdu na základny zklamáni organizací a těžkopádností místní administrativy. Všichni bez rozdílu trpěli mizerným finančním zaopatřením. Oproti mnohým kolegům, ale měli i velké štěstí, jelikož mohli oslavit vánoční svátky důstojně, v civilizované, demokratické zemi.

The first Christmas was different for many. The airmen who followed the so-called Polish route, would have been pleased to receive a gift of 150 francs from the Czechoslovak embassy in Paris.The money was welcome even more due to the fact that the Czechoslovak officers were still serving in the ranks of the French foreign legionnaires and were also „paid“ accordingly. Officers received 1.5 francs per day, but the other ranks received only 50 centimes. Thus many were disillusioned with the level of organisation and slow-moving administration. All, without exception, suffered from poor financial support. On the other hand, unlike many of their colleagues, they were also lucky, because they could celebrate Christmas properly in a civilised and democratic country.

Letci, kteří odešli do zahraničí po pádu Polska tzv. jižní cestou, riskovali zadržení maďarskou hlídkou a transport do pověstné věznice Citadele v Budapešti, odkud se mohli dostat po mnoha týdnech, ale i měsících, pouze na zákrok místního francouzského vyslanectví. Přibližně 115 čs. letců upadlo na polské frontě do zajetí Rudé armády. Tito nešťastníci živořili v zimě roku 1939 v bídných podmínkách sovětských lágrů, z nichž byli vyreklamováni v průběhu následujících dvou let.

Airmen who, after the fall of Poland, left for abroad via the so-called Southern route, risked being captured by Hungarian guards and taken to the infamous prison, the Citadel in Budapest, from where they could get out after many weeks, even months and only with the intervention from the local French embassy. Some 115 airmen were taken prisoner of war by the Red army on the Polish front. These unfortunate men spent the winter 1939 in appalling conditions of Soviet camps, from which they were claimed during the next two years.

Ve válce jsou vítězství vždy úzce propojena se ztrátami. Mezi piloty první linie bychom jenom těžko našli jednotlivce, kteří při operační službě neztratili kamaráda či kamarády. Denní bitvy nad britskými ostrovy dohasínaly v průběhu října a listopadu 1940, kdy se pomalu blížily druhé válečné Vánoce v cizím prostředí. Někteří je přivítali se svými spolubojovníky v atmosféře přítulných britských pubů, jiní ve společnosti britských přítelkyň, ale také v osamocení na nemocničním lůžku či v cele berlínské věznice.

In war, the victories are always closely linked with the losses.One could hardly find an individual amongst the front line pilots, who would not have lost one or more friends fulfilling their operational duty. The daily battles over the British isles were diminishing during October and November 1940 as the second wartime Christmas in a foreign environment was approaching. Some welcomed it with their fellow fighters in the cosy atmoshpere of the British pubs,others in company of their girlfriends, but also in the loneliness of a hospital bed or in the cell of a Berlin prison.

A to, že naši piloti postrádali u britských Vánoc kouzlo těch domácích dokládá popis Stanislava Fejfara, stíhače 313. peruti:

The fact that our pilots were missing the magic of their home Christmas in the British ones, is evident from the letter of Stanislav Fejfar, a fighter pilot with 313 squadron:

„Přiblížil se Štědrý večer… Nesmíš být sentimentální, a proto necháš připravit pro kluky malý stromeček v našem ,dispersalu’ a pro každého malý dárek. Vidíš ten zelený smrček, několik tretek na něm zavěšených, svíčky, rádio ti hraje vážnou hudbu, ale nemáš v duši ten pocit velkého dne. Podíváš se oknem a nevidíš sníh, ty zachumlané chaloupky našeho Podkrkonoší, vidíš pouze věčně zelený anglický trávník letiště s kamuflovanými hangáry v dáli – a je po iluzi. A protože nechceš, aby kluci vzpomínali a byli smutní či snad slzeli při vzpomínce na svou mámu, pozveš všechny na tanec, neboť takto se zde oslavují Vánoce. Je nás čtyřiadvacet. Všichni s číší v ruce a snad každý se skrytou otázkou v očích: příští už budou doma?“ Aniž to tušil, byly to jeho poslední Vánoce. Za necelých pět měsíců padl nad severní Francií.

“Christmas Eve was approaching…You cannot afford to be sentimental, so you get a small Christmas tree installed at our dispersal“ for the boys and a small present for each. You see that little green spruce with a few trinkets hanging on it, the candles, the radio is playing classical music, but deep inside it does not feel like a special day. You look out of the window and don’t see any snow, those huddled up small cottages in our Podkrkonoše region, but you see only the ever green English lawn of the airfield with the camouflaged hangars in the distance – and the illusion is gone. And because you do not want them to start reminiscing and grow sad and tearful when remembereing their Mums, you invite them all to a dance as that is how Christmas is celebrated here. There are twenty-four of us. All with a glass in our hand and a hidden question in our eyes: “Will the next one be back at home?“ Without knowing it, this was to be his last Christmas. Less than five months later he was killed over northern France.

V roce 1941 byl založen Spolek československých žen ve Velké Británii, jehož cílem bylo letcům zpříjemnit život. V zimě téhož roku zorganizoval vánoční pomoc těžce zraněným letcům (v nemocnicích jich bylo 13, plus 20 lehčeji zraněných). Spolek pro každého z nich připravil hodnotný balíček a pro letce nižších hodností bylo přiloženo 10 šilinků. Celkem bylo k 17. prosinci 1941 připraveno na 40 balíčků. Spolek ve své záslužné činnosti pokračoval po celý zbytek války. Někteří letci strávili Vánoce i v exotickém prostředí africké scenérie. Například Josef Hanuš slavil vánoční svátky roku 1943 mezi československými krajany v Tunisu. Do severní Afriky dorazil v únoru 1943, kdy nastoupil službu u noční britské 600. perutě. Neméně zdařile hodnotil prožití Božího hodu, ačkoliv arabské okolí postrádalo jakoukoliv vánoční atmosféru: „K obědu jsme měli kačenu, bezvadnou s dobrým knedlíkem, a mně se tak prášilo od huby, udělal jsem čest paní Vališové s jejími kuchařskému umění. A tak je po svátcích.

In 1941 the Society of Czechoslovak women in England was formed with the aim to make the life of airmen more pleasant. In the same winter it organised Christmas aid for severly wounded airmen (in hospitals there were thirteen of them and a further twenty with lesser injuries). The Society prepared a quality parcel for each of them and added 10 shillings for lowers ranks. In total there were 40 parcels prepared by December 17, 1941.The Society continued its valuable work for the duration of the war. Some airmen spent Christmas in the more exotic environment of the African scenery. Josef Hanuš, for instance, celebrated Christmas 1943 amongst Czechoslovak compatriots in Tunisia. He arrived in North Africa in February 1943 when he joined 600 Squadron of British night fighters. He judged Christmas day favourably, despite the fact that the Arab surroundings totally lacked any Christmas atmosphere: „We had a delicious duck with tasty dumplings for lunch and I gorged myself so much and so I paid a tribute to Mrs Vališ and her culinary skills.

Zase jedny Vánoce patří minulosti a jsem o 1 rok starší. Doufám, že na příští Vánoce budu doma, nebo balit kufry na cestu domů.“

Another Christmas is over and I am one year older. I hope that the next one I will spend at home or by packing my suitcase for the homeward journey.“

Vánoce v zajetí
Christmas in captivity.


Kruté svátky protrpěla česká část osádky poručíka Karla Trojáčka, která upadla do zajetí 25. září 1940 – po úspěšném bombardování hlavního města Třetí říše. Četař Karel Kunka raději spáchal sebevraždu, než by padl do rukou Němců, kteří odmítli uznat českým letcům statut zajatců, ale považovali je za vlastizrádce, kteří pozvedli zbraň proti své „vlasti“. Na základě § 91a říšského zákoníku měli být postaveni před válečný soud a popraveni. Díky reakci nejvyšších britských míst k tomu naštěstí nedošlo, přesto však tito muži strávili více než rok v německých věznicích, než byli, na kost vyhublí, propuštěni do zajateckých táborů.

A cruel Christmas was had by the crew of Flight Lieutenant Karel Trojáček, captured on 25 September 1940 – after a successful bombing raid of the capital of the Third Reich. Sergeant Karel Kunka decided to take his own life rather than being caught by the Germans, who refused to accept the prisoner of war status where the Czechs were concerned, but considered them traitors who raised arms against their „homeland“. According to Paragraph 91a of the Reich’s penal code they were to be tried by a war tribunal and executed. Luckily, thanks to the intervention from the British authorities that did not happen, though they spent over a year in German prisons before being transferred to prisoner of war camps, thin as as rakes.

V průběhu války si zajatci dopředu připravovali na Vánoce různé dobroty z balíčků od Červeného kříže: „Na štědrovečerní večeři jsme se oholili a vzali, co jsme měli nejlepší, na sebe. Jídla jsme si pokud možno přizpůsobili našim poměrům. Po večeři se kouřilo, pila se káva, čaj a kakao. Při této bohaté hostině v zajateckém táboře nám najednou bylo teskno a smutno. Všichni Češi jsme se sešli v jedné místnosti. Vzpomínali jsme na naše doma. Neoficiálně jsme se dozvěděli, že jsou internováni někde u Kyjova ve Svatobořicích. Nezapomněli jsme ani na kamarády, kteří mezi námi již nejsou a i na ty, kterým je doposud dopřáno bojovat. I když jsme fysické nedostatky necítili, nebylo nám nějak dobře. Nakonec jsme si zazpívali. Dlouho jsme nemohli usnout. Všichni jsme v duchu doufali, že jsou to poslední Vánoce (v zajetí) a příští, že už budeme doma.“ Zatímco pro většinu letců se Vánoce roku 1944 nesly v radostném očekávání posledních svátků v cizině, pro ty v zajetí se staly těmi nejdepresivnějšími. Po atentátu na Hitlera se nacisté rozhodli dostat zajaté letce na šibenici. Dvacet z nich bylo transportováno do přísně střeženého tábora v Colditzu, kde měli očekávat soudní přelíčení s následnou popravou: „Zatímco většina ostatních vězňů se přece jen veselila, neboť počítala, že to jsou Vánoce v zajetí určitě poslední, my jsme je prožívali jako zoufalé dny, kdy se člověk snaží zapomenout na všechno, a oddechli jsme si, když byly za námi. Byla-li nálada mezi námi už od samotného příchodu do Colditz skličující, dostala novou ránu brzy po Vánocích, kdy jsme se dozvěděli, že jsme odsouzeni k smrti.“ Po komplikovaných jednáních britské diplomacie, byl ze strany Němců učiněn kompromis, díky němuž k soudu nikdy nedošlo, a všichni letci z Colditzu se dožili konce války.

During the war the prisoners used to prepare various delicacies from the Red Cross parcels before Christmas: “For Christmas Eve dinner we shaved and put on the best clothes we had. We adjusted the meal according to our means. After dinner we smoked, drank coffee, tea or cocoa. During this rich feast in the camp we suddenly felt sad. All the Czechs gathered in the same room. We reminisced about our families at home. We heard via unofficial channels that they were interned in Svatobořice somewhere near Kyjov. Nor did we forget our friends who were no longer with us as well as those who could still fight. Though we did not feel any physical deprivations, we did not feel well. At the end we sang together. We could not sleep for some time. We all hoped that this was the last Christmas (in captivity) and that we would be home for the next one.” While Christmas 1944 was, for the majority of airmen, spent in the happy expectation of the last Christmas abroad, for those in captivity it was the most depressing one. After the attempted assassination of Hitler the Nazis decided to bring the captured airmen to the gallows. Twenty of them were transported into the heavily guarded camp at Colditz, where they were to await the trial and subsequent execution: „While most of the other prisoners were merry in anticipation that this Christmas was to be definitely the last one, we spent those days in despair, when one tried to forget everything and we were glad when Christmas was over. If the mood was already depressing after arriving at Colditz, it got another knock soon after Christmas when we learned that we were sentenced to death“. After complicated negotiations by British diplomacy, the Germans made a compromise thanks to which the trial never happened, and all airmen held in Colditz lived to see the end of the war.


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Za křídly…Válečné osudy letců z Plzeňského kraje bojujících v RAF



Za křídly…



Válečné osudy letců z Plzeňského kraje bojujících v RAF



od


Daniel Švec



Kniha se zaměřuje na 116 příslušníků britského Královského letectva z Plzeňského kraje – válečné osudy pozemního i létajícího personálu. Je mementem jejich odhodlání bojovat za naši zemi přes neskutečné strasti prvotní cesty.

Publikace je rozdělena na tři části. První je věnována pozemnímu personálu, který sloužil jak u bombardovací, tak u stíhacích squadron RAF. Jsou zde drakaři, elektrikáři, zbrojíři, lékaři, kuchaři, kancelářský personál a mnoho dalších profesí, bez kterých by se letoun do vzduchu nedostal a bez kterého by letiště nefungovalo. Druhá část je věnována létajícímu personálu 311. bombardovací perutě. Tedy pilotům, navigátorům, radiotelegrafistům a střelcům. Jednotlivé osudy mapují nasazení této peruti jak u Bomber Command, tak u Coastal Command. Třetí část se věnuje všem stíhačům. Mnohdy doslova králům vzduchu.

Životopisy začínající dětstvím a mládím v Československu, pokračující cestou za bojem – válečné zážitky z Polska, Francie, Anglie. Poválečné osudy. Vše sepsáno dle dostupných pramenů z archivů, od příbuzných, od pamětníků, z odborné literatury. Originální a jedinečné perokresby od Miroslava Vomáčky – mnohdy zachycující tváře dosud neznámé, nebo málo známé.

Dobové fotografie – zachycující jednotlivé letce.

Profesionálně nafocené fotografie dobových artefaktů.

A mnoho dalšího.

Kniha je cestou za křídly všech těchto statečných mužů, kteří nasazovali životy za naše dnešky….

Vydavatel :
Publisher :
Daniel Švec
ISBN: 978-80-11-01971-6
Format:
Počet stran
Vázaná kniha, 400 stran
Language:
Jazyk
Česky
Published:
Publikováno
2022
Price:
Cena
US$ / €45 / £40.00 / 990Kč
Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd, Books, Cemetries, Not Forgotton, Other RAF Squadrons | Leave a comment

Karel Jansta – Memorial Plaque unveiled.

Karel Janšta – odhalení pamětní desky


At 3 pm, Thursday 8 December 2022 a memorial plaque was unveiled at Žitná 32, Nové Město, Prague 2. This was was the former home of F/Lt Karel Janšta, who served as Wireless Operator/Air Gunner with 311 (Czechoslovak) Sqn in WW2 and had lived in the top floor flat there from 1975 until his death in 1986.

Ve čtvrtek 8. prosince 2022 byla v Žitné ulici č.p. 32 v Praze – Novém Městě odhalena pamětní deska F/Lt. Karlu Janštovi. Ten žil v nejvyšším poschodí tohoto domu od roku 1975 až do své smrti v roce 1986. Za druhé světové války sloužil jako palubní střelec/radista u 311. československé perutě.

Jana Černochová, Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic.

Attending the ceremony was Jana Černochová, Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, General Aleš Knížek, Director of Military History Institute, Colonel Robert Speychal, Director of Veterans Affair and War Graves at the Czech Ministry of Defence, Jiří Charfreitag from ČsOL (Československá obec legionářská), Jana Zachová, daughter of Karel Janšta, Petr Císařovský, sculptor of the plaque, well-wishers and an Honour Guard from the Czech Air Force.

Odhalení desky se zúčastnila ministryně obrany Jana Černochová, generál Aleš Knížek, ředitel Armádního muzea Žižkov, plukovník Robert Speychal, ředitel odboru pro válečné veterány Ministerstva obrany České republiky, Jiří Charfreitag z Československé obce legionářské, Jana Zachová, dcera Karla Janšty, Petr Císařovský, tvůrce pamětní desky, čestná stráž vzdušných sil Armády České republiky a další hosté.

After speeches, several wreaths were laid, followed by the playing of the Last Post and the event concluded with the Czech National Anthem being played.

Po slavnostních proslovech bylo na místě položeno několik květinových věnců, zazněla Večerka AČR a celou slavnost uzavřela národní hymna České republiky.


Posted in 311 Sqd, Ceremony, Not Forgotton | 2 Comments

The Kroměříž district  Czechoslovak RAF airmen remembered

Uctění památky československých příslušníků RAF
z kroměřížského okresu.



The symbolic bouquet in national colours is the form of saying thank you by the Free Czechoslovak Associates Ltd. – Sdružení letců svobodného Československa s.r.o., which was formed in the United Kingdom. All three Directors – Barry Kudláček, Tom Doležal and Dagmar Šišková-Johnson, are descendants of Czechoslovak RAF airmen. This year, they initiated a project in the Czech Republic to honour the memorial sites of all airmen mentioned in the publication “Men in RAF uniforms from the Kroměříž district for the freedom of Czechoslovakia 1939-1945”.

Symbolická kytička v národních barvách je forma poděkování sdružení Free Czechoslovak Air Force – Svobodné československé letectvo, založené v Anglii. Jeho výkonnými členy jsou tři potomci československých „rafáků“ – Barry Kudláček, Tom Doležal a Dagmar Šišková-Johnson. V letošním roce vznikl z jejich podnětu projekt pro Českou republiku, uctít touto formou památná místa mužů uvedených v publikaci „Muži v uniformách RAF z okresu Kroměříž za svobodu Československa 1939-1945.“


The project was launched on 31 March 2022, when Dagmar Šišková-Johnson during a visit to her family in Moravia, laid the first bouquet at the memorial plaque of her father, Alois Šiška in his native Lutopecny. The mayor of the village Petr Navrátil was also present.

Projekt byl zahájen 31. března 2022. Za účasti Dagmar Šiškové-Johnson při návštěvě rodiny na Moravě byla položena první kytička u pamětní desky jejího otce genmjr. Aloise Šišky v rodných Lutopecnách. Přítomen byl starosta obce Petr Navrátil.


On the same day, another FCAFA bouquet was also placed at the memorial plaque to five Kroměříž-born airmen at Hanácké square in Kroměříž. They are: Zdeněk Bachurek, Svatopluk Bachurek, Miloslav Eugen Mikulík, ladislav Ševčík and Karel Valach. Zdenka Trávníčková, niece of Alois Šiška and author of the aformentioned publication, was instrumental in creation of both plaques.

Téhož dne byla položena kytička též k pamětní desce pěti kroměřížských rodáků na Hanáckém náměstí v Kroměříži. Na desce jsou uvedena jména: Zdeněk Bachurek, Svatopluk Bachurek, Miloslav Eugen Mikulík, Ladislav Ševčík a Karel Valach. Obě pamětní desky vznikly z podnětu Zdeňky Trávníčkové, neteře gen. Šišky, autorky zmíněné publikace.


The next commemorative act followed on April 3, 2022 at the memorial plaque in Holešov, which is mounted on the primary school building. Dagmar Šišková-Johnson placed the bouquet there, together with Jan Dúbravčík, a former military pilot, who initiated the creation of this plaque. He also published several aviation-related publications himself. The plaque bears ther following names: Karel Bednařík, Jan Hein (Haina), Josef Hrůza, Jaroslav Chmelík, Robert Osenský (Ossendorf) a Karel Valášek.

Další pietní akt následoval dne 3. dubna 2022 u pamětní desky v Holešově, na budově ZŠ za účasti Dagmar Šiškové-Johnson a Ing. Jana Dúbravčíka, bývalého vojenského pilota, který vznik pamětní desky inicioval. Sám vydal též několik publikací s leteckou tematikou. Na desce uvedena jména příslušníků RAF: Karel Bednařík, Jan Hein(Haina), Josef Hrůza, Jaroslav Chmelík, Robert Osenský (Ossendorf) a Karel Valášek.


The two locations near Bystřice pod Hostýnem were next on the list. First in the village of Bílavsko, where the bouquet was placed by the urn containing the ashes of František Josef Sadil, followed by visit to Chvalčov, where, at presence of Mr Chládek, the council representative, the bouquet was placed at the war memorial on which are the names of the two fighter pilots, Evžen Halamásek and Rupert Krupica.

Téhož dne byla v oblasti Bystřice pod Hostýnem položena kytička na hrob v obci Bílavsko, k urně s ostatky Františka, Josefa Sadila. Následně v obci Chvalčov byla kytička položena k pomníku, na kterém jsou uvedena jména dvou stíhacích pilotů – Evžena Halamáska a Ruperta Krupici. Přítomen byl zástupce obce Dipl.Ing. Chládek.


The last FCAFA-related stop during Dagmar Šišková-Johnson’s Spring visit took place on 7 April 2022 at the RAF memorial at Olšany cemetery in Prague. Together with her cousin Zdenka Trávníšková they laid the bouquet at this memorial, which is also the final resting place of the ashes of Zdeněk Bachurek, Alois Šiška, Lubomír Úlehla and Petr Uruba as all those were born in Kroměříž region.

Poslední zastávkou Dagmar Šiškové-Johnson v souvislosti s FCAFA projektem byl 7. dubna 2022 památník letců RAF v Praze na Olšanech. Společně se sestřenicí Zdeňkou Trávníčkovou položily kytičku na památník, který je rovněž místem pro uložení urny Bachurka Zdeňka, Aloise Šišky, Úlehly Lubomíra, Petra Uruby, kteří mají své kořeny na Kroměřížsku.


The project continued in May with a visit to Prostějov and Přerov. On May 4, 2022, a bouquet was laid by Zdeňka Trávníčková at the memorial to the Czechoslovak RAF airmen in Prostějov, on which Svatopluk Bachurek, Vilém Michálek and Karel Valach are remembered. Also present was Ladislav Staněk from the Prostějov branch of the Airmen’s Union.

Projekt pokračoval v měsíci květnu návštěvou Prostějova a Přerova. Dne 4. května 2022 byla položena kytička Zdeňkou Trávníčkovou k památníku čs. letcům v Prostějově, na němž jsou vzpomenuti Bachurek Svatopluk, Michálek Vilém, Valach Karel. Přítomen byl Staněk Ladislav za pobočku Svazu letců Prostějov.


On 7 May 2022 a bouquet was placed at the joint memorial to the fallen of the second world war and the RAF airmen, namely Jaroslav Lančík and Rudolf Němeček at the presence of Miroslav Smětava, former pilot and member of Přerov Airmen‘s Union branch.

Následně 7. května 2022 byla položena kytička v Přerově k pomníku obětem 2. světové války a letců RAF. Na pomníku jsou uvedena jména Lančíka Jaroslava a Němečka Rudolfa. Přítomen byl zástupce pobočky Svazu letců v Přerově, Smětava Miroslav, bývalý pilot.


Another bouquet was laid at the memorial plaque of Gen. Karel Janoušek, who was born in Přerov.

Kytička byla položena též k pamětní desce gen. K. Janouška, rodáka z Přerova.


On 8 May 2022 another bouquet was placed at the memorial to the fallen of both world wars at Halenkov, nr. Vsetín, which bears the name of František Politzer, whose family came from the kroměříž region. Present were representatives of the local council, led by the Mayor Radek Chromčák.

Dne 8. května 2022 byl vzpomenut u pomníku padlých obou válek v Halenkově na Vsetínsku Politzer František, jehož rodina pochází z Kroměřížska. Přítomni zástupci obce se starostou Ing. Chromčákem Radkem.


On the same day the FCAFA bouquet was also laid during the unveiling ceremony of the plaque to the Halenkov-born Emil Mikulenka.

Téhož dne byla odhalena v Halenkově pamětní deska rodákovi plk. Emilu Mikulenkovi. Při slavnostním aktu byla u desky položena také kytička FCAFA.


The next stop was the cemetery at Bystřice pod Hostýnem on 11 May 2022, when bouquets were laid at the graves of Vojtěch Bublík.

Další pokračování projektu proběhlo 11. května 2022. Na hřbitově v Bystřici pod Hostýnem položena kytička na hrob Bubílka Vojtěcha.

and that of Felix Zbořil.

a další kytička na hrob se jménem Zbořila Felixe. Přítomen byl jeho synovec Mgr. Zbořil Ivan.

On the same day Zdenka Trávníčková also laid a bouquet at the memorial of Bohumil Horák at the village of Komárno. Also present was the Mayor Milan Šindelák.

Téhož dne v obci Komárno položila Zdeňka Trávníčková kytičku na pomník se jménem Horáka Bohumila. Přítomen starosta obce Šindelek Milan.



The project resumed in the Autumn, during the second Moravian visit of Dagmar Šišková-Johnson and her husband Ian, also a FCAFA volunteer. On 11 September 2022 she laid a bouquet at Politzer family grave at Střílky cemetery, which also contains the remains of two Politzer brothers, Maxmilián and František. Also present was Jana Drápalová, a teacher who wrote a piece about the fate of the two brothers in the village newsletter.

Projekt pak pokračoval až v podzimních měsících při další návštěvě Dagmar Šiškové-Johnson a manžela Iana, též dobrovolníka FCAFA na Moravě byla položena dne 11.září 2022 kytička na rodinný hrob s ostatky bratrů Maxmiliána a Františka Politerových na hřbitově ve Střílkách. Přítomna byla paní učitelka Mgr.Jana Drápalová, která o osudech obou bratrů zveřejnila řadu informací v místním zpravodaji obce.


On the same day the group visited Svoboda family grave at Bohuslavice u Kyjova, on which is remembered also Pavel Svoboda, one of the three survivors of KX-B bomber crew. A visit to Pavel’s relatives followed.

Téhož dne byla položena kytička na rodinný hrob v Bohuslavicích u Kyjova, kde je vzpomenut Pavel Svoboda, jeden ze tří přeživších havárie bombardéru KX-B. Pietní vzpomínka byla završena návštěvou příbuzných.


A visit the the memorial to Alois Šiška at Kvítkovice near Otrokovice followed on 12 September 2022. This is where he lived during his work at Baťa factory before his escape to war.

Dne 12. září 2022 navštíven pomník gen. Aloise Šišky v Kvítkovicích u Otrokovic, kde pracoval u firmy Baťa před útěkem do zahraničního odboje.


Rusava village, the birthplace of Petr Uruba, was the next stop on 17 October 2022. The bouquet was placed at his memorial plaque at presence of the Mayor Bohumil Škarpich.

Další podzimní zastavení dne 17. října 2022 s položením kytičky směřovalo do obce Rusava. Rodná obec připomíná na pamětní desce Petra Uruby. Přítomen byl za obec starosta pan Škarpich.


The last project visit took place on 25 October 2022 in Nětčice, where amongst the names on the village memorial is also Josef Blaha.

Poslední zastavení v rámci projektu se uskutečnilo dne 25. října 2022 v Nětčicích, kde je na pomníku uvedeno jméno stíhače 313 čs. perutě Josefa Blahy.

During the project visits were made to 16 different locations and bouquets were laid. These were memorials, graves and plaque which bear the names of the Czechoslovak RAF Airmen, born in the district of Kroměříž, who served in the RAF. Lest we forget.

V průběhu projektu bylo navštíveno 16 míst, kde byla položena symbolická kytička. Jednalo se o pomníky, hroby, pamětní desky, které připomínají jména čs. příslušníků RAF narozených v okrese Kroměříž. Čest jejich památce.



As part of this project two more bouquets were laid in Holland. Dagmar Šišková-Johnson laid the bouquet at the KX-B crew memorial in Petten on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its unveiling,

V rámci projektu byly také položeny 2 FCAFA kytičky v Nizozemsku. Dagmar Šišková-Johnson položila kytičku u památníku pasádky KX-B v Pettenu u přílžitosti 10. výročí odhalení,


as well as at the grave of Josef Mohr in the CWGC section of the municipal cemetery in Bern am Zee.

a také u hrobu Josefa Mohra v sekci CWGC na městkém hřbitově v Bergen am Zee.

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To help support this remembrance project please consider making a donation which will greatly assist us in this work.

Pokud byste chtěli podpořit tuto vzpomínkovou akci finančně, budeme vám velmi vděční.

Your donation can be made here.

Svůj dar můžete uskutečnit zde.

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